Operation Adventure: An Inside Look at Tsaina Lodge in Alaska

With summer fast approaching, I’m feeling the urge to challenge myself with an outdoorsy adventure – and Alaska’s Tsaina Lodge fits the bill. Nestled atop Thompson Pass in the Chugach Mountain Range, this remote escape offers everything from helicopter sightseeing to shark fishing (yes, you read that right). So, I chatted with Tsaina’s CEO, David Hudacsko, to get the inside scoop on a day in the life. Have to mentally prepare, after all.

BLG-1467 Boutique Support Tsaine Lodge

7:30AM: When there are 20.5 hours of daylight to work with, there’s always time for an excursion or two. Best to get up bright and early (but maybe not too early) to prep. Hudacsko says it’s “typically 65 degrees in July and August, but we are in Alaska and near the water. Pack for mountain weather that will change in a moment’s notice, and always have a windbreaker on you.”

9AM: Hudacsko cites helicopter fishing, sightseeing, hiking, and glacier exploration as some of the lodge’s top adventure options. Schedule your time the night before, then lift off from the on-site heli-pad in Tsaina’s helicopter. Sign me up for what Hudacsko calls “the best fishing” in Alaska – or anywhere.

5 – 7PM: Back from your day of adventure? Hudacsko describes the typical routine. “Get changed, relax, come down and grab a drink, and exchange stories from the day. Then table up for dinner.” Hudacsko recommends super-fresh seafood like sushi, Copper River salmon, king crab legs, and the Halibut Plate. Freshly made pasta and top-grade steaks from a private ranch in Missouri also merited a mention.

9PM: After dinner, Tsaina’s historic bar is the place to be. With six rotating microbrews from the Alaskan Brewing Company on tap, there’s plenty of local flavor to enjoy. Also, the potential for free drinks. “This is a really nice setting,” Hudacsko says, “but if you climb up the center post in the room, across the ceiling beam, and down to the mountain climber hand holds to complete ten pull ups, we buy you beers.” I don’t trust my own arm strength, but I’d love to see someone else try.

Is it summer yet?

Our Tsaina Lodge – Valdez, AK Boutique opens Tuesday, May 14, at 11AM ET.

By Chrissy Makkas, Staff Writer

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May 14, 2013

A Taste of Tennessee: Bring Farm-to-Table Cuisine to Your Kitchen with this Resort’s Beloved Recipe

BLG-1434 Boutique Support Blackberry Farms

The mountains are vast, the spa is state-of-the-art, and the linens are luxurious. But in true Southern fashion, hospitality at Blackberry Farm – a 9,200-acre farm, resort, and Relais & Châteaux hotel in Eastern Tennessee – is served up on a platter brimming with the area’s finest homegrown cuisine. Named the #1 hotel in America for food lovers in Bon Appétit magazine’s May issue, the menu changes with the bounty of the season and nearly every dish is made with ingredients that have been grown, raised, or cultivated on-site – all the way down to the honey in your tea.

Beer lover? Along with raising their own livestock and planting their own fruit and nut orchards, Blackberry Farm now brews and serves three different beers to guests.

Living and breathing farm-to-table cooking, Chefs Joseph Lenn and Josh Feathers – along with countless gardeners, beekeepers, cheesemakers, butchers, and preservationists – have fresh, exquisite taste in mind. To give you an idea, we leave you with a recipe to try at home: Shrimp & Grits, a traditional Southern dish, in four parts.

Shrimp & Grits with Spicy Tomatoes and Pickled Pepper Emulsion
Serves 4

Grits

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt

 

  1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, bring milk and water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk in grits and reduce heat to low.
  3. Cook for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring grits occasionally.
  4. Season with salt and reserve.

Continue reading for the complete Shrimp & Grits with Spicy Tomatoes and Pickled Pepper Emulsion recipe


April 30, 2013

Game, Set, Match: The Tennis Tournament to Watch

Rancho Valencia tennis

After months of working out indoors (thanks but no thanks to this never-ending winter), I’m more than ready for some outdoor activity. Topping my list? Hitting the tennis courts, of course. And this month, I’m feeling even more inspired to pick up a racket and serve away. Why? The Sony Ericsson Open. Below, peep the details on this must-watch tennis tourney.

What it is: The Sony Open features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. Other than the four Grand Slam tournaments, this is one of the only events on the Association of Tennis Professionals calendar where the main singles draw involves more than 64 participants and extends beyond a week of play. It’s become a “see and be seen” destination – featuring high fashion, celeb-studded musical performances, and some seriously enviable shopping opportunities.

Who participates: Some of the biggest names in the tennis world – everyone from Andy Murray to Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

Where to watch: The 2013 Sony Open is happening now, March 18 – 31, in Miami.

Tickets are still available, but if you’re in for a different kind of escape, how about watching from the acclaimed California tennis resort, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa? Who knows – after you work on that serve, maybe a spot in the Sony Open 2014 is in the cards.

Our Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa Boutique opens Tuesday, March 19, at 3PM ET. Both the men’s and women’s finals are broadcast live on CBS.

By Lauryn Paiva, Staff Writer

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March 19, 2013

Sláinte! A Peek at St. Paddy’s Day Across the Globe

St. Paddy’s Day is one of the most popular annual festivals in the world, in countries with and without significant Irish populations. And why not? From emerald isles to pints of Guinness, Irish culture is worthy of celebration.

St. Paddy's Celebrations

Here’s how some nations party like the Irish:

Ireland and Great Britain. Ireland itself throws over 100 separate St. Paddy’s Day events – including Dublin’s five-day festivalKate Middleton has been known to participate in the festivities in England, which boasts the UK’s largest parade (Birmingham) and festival (Manchester).

Munich. The only German city to host one, Munich’s St. Paddy’s parade has evolved into continental Europe’s largest. An open-air party with live music and dancing (and plenty of Guinness) always follows. 

Argentina. Thanks to the comfortably warm weather, Argentinians – particularly those living in Buenos Aires – celebrate Saint Patrick with all-night parties, often drinking and dancing until 8AM.

The United States. Virtually every American city with a bar throws a St. Paddy’s party. Some notables? Chicago’s green river, Savannah’s emerald-tinted fountains, New York City’s two million parade attendees, and Rue’s very own Boston – home of the world’s first-ever St. Paddy’s Day parade. With dishes ranging from Guinness Pulled Pork to festive Key Lime Cupcakes, the U.S. throws one delicious green-themed holiday.

With other popular St. Paddy’s Day celebrations in South KoreaMontserratDubaiAustralia, and many other nations, it’s safe to say that partying in green is a worldwide phenomenon. So, all together now: Erin go bragh! 

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer 

How will you celebrate the greenest of holidays? Sound off in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala. 

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March 13, 2013

Countdown to Spring: Transition to the Warm Season in 3 Steps

Sun? Is that you? From beach getaways to holiday entertaining, take a peek at our spring boutiques – then open the windows

Even if you are still salting the porch steps, the first day of spring is just eight days away, which means it’s time to pack away the puffer coats and start ordering iced coffee. (If we think warm thoughts, the weather will follow.) But, don’t do anything drastic. There is a method to transitioning into the sunny season – it has been studied, tested, and proven effective – and it’s broken down here, in three steps.

BLG-1330-Spring-Campaign

1. Clean House
Hibernation time is over. Let the sunlight stream in and spruce up the homestead with colorful throw pillows, white linens, and fresh flowers on every side table. The Stylishly Lived-In Home Boutiques open Wednesday, March 13, at 3PM, and our Clear the Clutter: Chic Storage Essentials Boutique opens Friday, March 22, at 3PM.

2. Throw a Party
Celebrating egg-hunting season, opening the back patio, or thanking Big Brother for that extra hour of sunlight – whatever the occasion, everyone likes a party. So, deck the tables with gourmet goodies and send out the e-invites. Our Here Comes the Easter Bunny: Gourmet Goodies Boutique opens Wednesday, March 13, at 11AM.

3. Book a Trip
Big kids need spring break, too. We’re thinking – white sand beaches. Our Grecian Getaway: Santorini, Mykonos, & Ios Boutique opens Tuesday, March 12, at 11AM.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Have any getting-ready-for-spring tips? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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March 12, 2013

Checking a Bag?: A Suitcase that Withstands Dropping, Tossing, and Overpacking

Whether you’re a frequent business flier, occasional vacationer, or overpacker (no matter how short the flight), finding a suitcase that endures the roughest of baggage handlers and fits all your shoes is essential – and having it in a sleek, look-at-how-effortlessly-I-travel color wouldn’t hurt, either. From crack-proof polycarbonate to built-in garment bags, here are a few things to look for in your next travel companion.

 BLG-1315-Boutique-Support--Tumi

 Our Tumi Luggage, Outerwear, & Travel Accessories Boutique opens Tuesday, March 5, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 5, 2013

Kennebunkport 101

There will be lobster. (And so much more.)

Ahoy, Kennebunkport. So much more than the Bush family’s summer escape (though consider our intrigue piqued), this picturesque little town is Maine coastal life to a T. So go ahead – book a seaside stay through our Kennebunkport Inn – Kennebunkport, ME Boutique, then get to know your newest (dream) destination.

Kennebunkport 101

1. The town was first incorporated in 1653 as “Cape Porpus.”

2. The coast’s irregular geography has a lot to do with the retreat of the Laurentide ice cap, some 23,000 years ago.

3. Originally a shipbuilding center, the town became a summer destination for affluent Bostonians in the late 1800s.

4.  Not to be a broken record, but – the Bush family compound is famously located here. Meaning? World leaders (ahem, Margaret Thatcher, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Mikhail Gorbachev) have all paid visits.

5. Taylor Swift shot a music video in Kennebunkport. (Sold.)

6. Freeport is just 45 minutes away. Why is this important, you ask? Four (or is it five?) words: L.L. Bean. Flagship. Store.

7. Rainy day? Pay a visit to the Kennebunkport Historical Society. Considering the town’s history dates back to 1653, there’s quite a bit to learn.

8. Bring an appetite for lobster. (Just saying.)

Our Kennebunkport Inn – Kennebunkport, ME Boutique opens Tuesday, January 22, at 11AM ET.

By Sarah Stanley, Staff Writer

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January 22, 2013

Get the Look: Ski Resort Style

Dress the part on (and off) the mountain

Unknown

The bitterly cold midwinter months bring a bit of fun with them: ski resorts. But before planning your weekend away in higher altitudes, there are a few cardinal rules to keep in mind while shredding powder (or lounging by the lodge fireplace):

1. Bundle up. Whether you’re bobbing over moguls, making pizza on the bunny hill, or a riding down the mountain goofy-style, an element-battling down coat is a must. Keep the look sleek with classic black or steel grey, or make your presence known in a colorful bright.

2. Add accessories. From iridescent goggles and beanies to fur-lined hunter hats and the gadget essentials, load up on both warm and fun extras. It may seem like more baggage, but you won’t mind when you’re cruising down the trail to your favorite song (sans frostbite).

3. Layer it on. Start with thermals and just keep adding layers, but make sure you plan ahead and wear a flattering sweater. Although it will be stashed under all that cozy warmth for the better part of the day, après-ski cocktails at the lodge are practically mandatory and demand some serious mingling.

Our On the Cold Front Boutiques for Men and Women open Saturday, January 5 at 11AM ET.

By Abigail Kuzia, Editor

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January 5, 2013

A Resolution’s Best Friend: Canyon Ranch

 

Canyon Ranch, A New Year's Resolution's Best Friend

The New Year is here – and I, for one, plan to make good on all my resolutions. And to make sure I get off on the right foot, a weeklong stay at this award-winning health resort is on my list. With food and fitness experts, acclaimed classes, and plenty of pampering, there will be no slacking off for this girl (which may have happened last year…).

Try Something New
Cross-country skiing? Cooking classes? I’m jump-starting a year filled with learning – resulting in a better, more experienced me.

Get Fit
And I’m talking mind, body, and soul. From gentle stretching and rigorous workouts to soul journeys and spiritual dialogues, all ends of the living-well spectrum are covered.

Relax
Sitting by the fire. Putting my feet up. The holidays are over – and after a crazy season like that, I’m pretty sure I deserve it.

Our Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA: Resolve to Renew Boutique opens Thursday, January 3, at 11AM ET.

By Keriann Coffey, Associate Blog Editor

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January 3, 2013

Hello, Sunshine: The Perfect Beach Ensemble

 

Sure, back at home, the most carefully assembled outfits are reserved for nights out on the town. On a warm-weather vacation, though? It’s all about the perfect beach ensemble. From a breezy tunic for snack shack runs to a straw hat for awkward post-swim hair, our Time to Get Away Boutiques pack everything you need to make that oh-so-satisfying splash straight into this year’s resort scene.

Hello, Sunshine

Our Time to Get Away Boutiques open Wednesday, December 27, at 3PM ET.

By Sarah Stanley, Staff Writer

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December 27, 2012